For Immediate ReleasePress Contact: Joe Okies, Public Information Officer, (510) 981-5752
BERKELEY POLICE BEGIN HOLIDAY TURKEY BASKET DISTRIBUTION
Annual Bike Ride to Lake Tahoe Raises Nearly $11,000
Berkeley, California (Tuesday, November 22, 2005) - This morning members of the Berkeley Police Department, the Berkeley Boosters, and other volunteers began distributing turkey baskets for disadvantaged Berkeley families. Money for the baskets is raised annually by current and retired Berkeley and UC Berkeley Police Department Officers, friends and families' pledges for bike rides from Berkeley to Lake Tahoe. This year the riders collected $10,880 in pledges for their 216 mile ride, enough to purchase 550 baskets. Half of the baskets will be distributed for Thanksgiving and half for Christmas.
Deserving families are nominated by beat officers as well as by members of the community. Basket assembly begins at 6 AM in front of the Police Department. Once the baskets are assembled, they are loaded into Police vehicles and distributed to families throughout Berkeley.
The idea of the ride was conceived in 1983 when three Berkeley officers rode their bicycles from Berkeley to South Lake Tahoe. During the trip they began planning how to develop a community service project and involve other officers. They decided they would create a ride to raise pledges for a holiday gift basket program. In 1985, the Inaugural Turkey Ride took place when seven Berkeley Police Officers rode their bicycles from Berkeley to Lake Tahoe in 2 ½ days.
Lt. Bruce Agnew, one of the Turkey Ride founders exclaimed, “The best part for me is seeing officers participate for the first time and socialize with veteran and supervisory officers. It’s also gratifying to give turkey baskets to people who appreciate the gift of food that makes it possible for them to have a nice holiday meal.“ Lt. Agnew has participated in all 21 Turkey Rides, a tradition for the Agnews' family, as both Bruce’s sons have provided rider support in past years. This year, Lt. Agnew’s son, Jason, participated as a rider for the first time.
The Berkeley Boosters, Berkeley’s Police Activities League, administers many of the logistics associated with the project ranging from ride support to donation management. The Booster’s Executive Director Dave Manson stated, “Our partnership with the Berkeley Police Department has enabled us to make a major difference in the lives of many families during the holiday season. We are thrilled to be part of this important undertaking.”